KIRKWOOD, MO – Hundreds stood outside Kirkwood City Hall Wednesday night to honor the victims of a tragic shooting that took place inside that building February 7th, 2008. On the tenth anniversary of that tragedy, an honor guard and bagpipes led a procession through a walkway dedicated to the victims.
The lives lost from that shooting were Police Officer Tom Ballman, Public Works Director Kenneth Yost, Mayor Mike Swoboda, Councilmember Michael Lynch, Council member Connie Karr and Police Sgt. William Biggs.
Former Police Chief Jack Plummer returned to city hall Wednesday and told those who gathered that the victims should also be remembered for what they did beyond their public service.
“They were fathers, wives, husbands, children and that’s at least as important, if not more, than their official duties as employees of the city of Kirkwood,” Plummer said.
Mayor Tim Griffin told victims’ families their loved ones will always be remembered.
“Please know we have not forgotten and we remember them by their names,” he said.
Deputy Mayor Paul Ward said so many tragic shootings such as the one in Kirkwood involve disturbed individuals. He called for an expanded effort to recognize those in distress and make a greater investment in mental health services. Ward added, “We need to continue to keep striving to make Kirkwood a more inclusive community.”
Some said it’s been the support from the Kirkwood community that’s helped them make it through such a horrible tragedy. Kirkwood City Clerk Betty Montano was one of the survivors from that night.
“I had several citizens that I had never met before that physically came into city hall wrapped their arms around me and said if you need anything you let me know,” she said. “That’s what Kirkwood is all about.”
She said,” Kirkwood truly is a compassionate community that cares about every single individual.”